Brett Bauer was born and raised in upstate New York in Rochester and then moved to Tampa to attend the University of South Florida. While there, she received my BA in Mass Communication and TV Programming. While in college is when my fitness interest sparked and decided to get certified in training and nutrition, receiving my certs through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).
You battled with bulimia at the age of 12. Can you tell us what your life was like then? How did it all start?
BB: Since age 7, I was a competitive cheerleader and dancer. I was always more “curvy” than many of my friends, which now looking back, was a good thing! But as an adolescent and being surrounded by skinny girls in dance class, it was extremely hard mentally.
It started to basically become a trend within our dance group to have an eating disorder; the one thing you could control with having a strict regimented dance and cheerleading schedule. The constant comparison of my body with my fellow dance mates just became hard mentally; receiving comments from one of my dance teachers. That environment can just become hard and unfortunately, make you go into unhealthy habits since we were not educated on proper nutrition.
Life at that time was very exhausting to have my life constantly obsessed with food and what I was eating; the ups and the downs, emotionally, took a toll. The behavior grew and so did the depression. It affected every type of relationship I had and my social life when I moved to Florida. The first years of college are supposed to be fun and adventurous, but looking back now, I missed out on a lot because of this secret of mine. Making excuses and hiding out in my room when an episode would happen just became tiresome. That is when I decided to educate myself on proper nutrition and really try to kick this problem.
What did you eat in a typical day? Did your family and friends notice your eating disorder?
BB: Every day was different. Usually, it would start out very restricted with very low calories. For example, a couple of crackers and a diet soda. This restrictive calorie and lack of nutrition would then lead me to binge on a mass amount of food. These episodes would lead me to feel guilty and then lead into a bulimic behavior. By the time it grew to become a problem where others noticed is when I was in my first year of college. Friends noticed the weird relationship I had with food and the emotional ups and downs.
How did you overcome this struggle? Did you go through any kind of treatment?
BB: With time, trial and error, and proper education, I was able to overcome this disorder. It is something that mentally will never leave you, but physically, you can overcome the unhealthy eating patterns. What really helped me was talking to other people who had gone through the struggle and obsession. It made me feel like I was not crazy to have such an odd eating obsession. As time progressed, the disorder went from bulimia to just binging. I overcame bulimia, but had trouble kicking the habit of binging, which was a result of emotions I did not know how to control. The emotional eating became an addictive behavior.
When did you first start getting serious about living a healthy lifestyle? What was your turning point?
BB: I ended up meeting a professional bodybuilder while in college. He put me on a program and showed me that I could actually eat and get in shape at the same time! It blew my mind. I follow his program of eating 6 small meals a day and started studying up on nutrition. It was the best I had felt in years and gave me the courage that I could get past my binging problem.
What made you decide to go into fitness modeling and what inspired you to compete?
BB: Fitness soon became my everyday lifestyle. Instead of working against my body with dancing and trying to become “skinny”, I worked with my body and trained and toned. I just fell in love with a new behavior that made me feel good and healthy.
I would always look at my fitness magazines for motivation and inspiration. I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could compete and actually step on stage. I finally competed in 2012 and completed a long time goal of mine.
BB: Since my work schedule is different each day, so is my diet, depending on what I train. I train in the early morning before my work day starts, eating my first meal at 5:00 am.
All my meals consist of carbs, fats, and proteins in small portions, with 6 meals a day.
I try to avoid heavy breads and high glycemic sugars for they tend to make me crash after I eat them. I will do a couple of cheat meals during the week if I am craving something. Can’t be too strict and have a healthy balance.
What’s your training routine? What specific program do you follow? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
BB: I train 5 days a week and do hot yoga 1-2 times. Normally, my split is as follows: Legs, back, shoulders, biceps and triceps, and then a second leg day. One of my leg days is a heavy weight day and the other is more light weight with higher repetition. As for cardio, I try to keep it around 45 minutes, 6 days a week post training. If I am trying to prep for a show or a shoot, I will then add more cardio in towards the end. I like to switch up the cardio style. Some days, I will just walk, keeping a steady heart rate while on other days, I might do some interval cardio training. On the interval days, I will do intervals of sprints, walking, or jump rope. Anything to keep the intensity up while spiking my heart rate.
Do you believe in supplements? If so, what are the ones you use and what results have these given you?
BB: Yes, I believe in sport supplements. Besides proper nutrition and rest, good supplements were key for me in recovery and performance. I could not live without BCAA’s, Glutamine, or Colostrum. The combination of all of these keep my immune system up, maintain my muscle mass, and repair and recover from training.
What is the most challenging thing you deal with in order to stay in shape?
BB: The most challenging things for me to stay in shape are diet and sleep. Life will always throw challenges your way and sometimes it may push you to fall off your routine. But, you have to roll with it best you can. I always had trouble being able to go with the flow if my routine was disrupted. No matter what, the most important thing for me is sleep. If I am not well rested, then I cannot perform well in the gym and will crave sugar. So, as long as I get enough rest, situations and challenges with maintaining a fitness lifestyle are slim to none.
You’re a recovered bulimic/binge eater turned body image and corrective eating coach. What advice do you have for other young women and men who are facing eating disorders?
BB: The biggest piece of advice is to focus on having a balanced non-restrictive diet. The more I gave my body what it needed, the less I would crave or go to food when I was stressed or emotional. Also, you have to give it time. I would feel horrible about myself if I wasn’t perfect on my diet, see results, or stop emotional eating. Over time, the episodes became fewer and far between. It didn’t happen overnight. Just know if you slip and have an emotional eating binge, tomorrow is a new day.
What’s next for you? Are you working on any projects? Aside from fitness, what else is keeping you busy?
BB: For right now, I am focusing on work and overcoming an injury. My goal is to be able to shoot in the spring once I am healed up. I am working on completing more ebooks to add to my site to help others achieve their goals.
When I am not working or training, I am busy with my dogs! My two dogs and hairless cat keep me very occupied, and yes I said hairless! Lol.
Any shout outs?
BB: Yes. I would like to thank my sponsors – Muscle Foods USA and Champions Fitness Network.
Lastly, where can we find you on the Internet?